If customers went and purchased whatever they were asked to, the world would not need professional marketers. Persuading a perfect stranger to buy something is a complex task because as human beings, we are conditioned to be on guard when asked to do something we haven’t chosen to do on our own. The critical component of the brain immediately comes to the fore, acting to protect us from this foreign stimulus. And once that wall of protection is in place, it is incredibly hard to persuade a prospective buyer into enter the sales funnel and interact in any meaningful way with a business.

This is where hypnotic words come into play. These are powerfully persuasive words that:

• Feed and prop up our sense of ego.

• Do not challenge the critical part of our brain to come protect us because they are benign and non-threatening.

• Do not promote thoughts of labor, stress or anxiety.

• Have associations and meanings for us that are pleasurable or positive.

• Are subconsciously accepted as logical and reasonable – and therefore permissible — because that is how our brain has learned to perceive them since childhood.

• Are associated with scarcity. Our primal need for food and shelter is embedded deep in our subconscious minds, and even though we don’t have to go foraging in the forest for food and shelter any more, the very suggestion of scarcity makes us feel insecure. And we want to hoard before it’s all gone.



“Buy Now” is a strong call-to-action after a prospect has been primed and prepared to make a purchasing action. Use “Buy Now” on a new, unprimed prospect, and you’ve pretty much ruined your chances of success because you’re causing a friction that is triggering the fight-or-flight mode and switching the prospect off completely from the rest of your messaging.

“Imagine”, in contrast, is a benign and non-threatening ask. The critical brain does not have to step in and raise barriers against it because it’s only…imagining.

This is where the power of the word lies. By side-stepping critical cognizance, it is freeing the prospect to just imagine the pleasure or whatever positive value it is that your product promises to impart.

If it is an exercise machine, the prospect is free to imagine the outcome of a flat abdomen in just 6 weeks. If it is a holiday package, the prospect is free to imagine sitting in a tropical beach under a beach umbrella, watching handsome cabana boys and sipping Mai Tai. If it is a lunch delivery service, the prospect is free to imagine what fun ways they are going to spend their afternoon hours because there’s no cooking to be done anymore.

What just happened?

Illusion took on the power of reality. The brain does not know how to differentiate between fantasy and reality. By encouraging the prospect to imagine a positive scenario, that scene gained credence and viability. Now, the prospect is ready to listen to the rest of your messaging. Because they have already enjoyed a few moments of unguarded, uninterrupted pleasure in imagining the benefits of your product.


The power of this word is rooted in our childhood, when the world was a mysterious place with rules and reasons that our young minds did not understand. Think just how often kids use the word “why” and you’ll see what I mean. “Why don’t elephants fly like birds do?” “Why do I have to eat broccoli?” “Why can’t I stay up to finish watching this film?” and so on…

Understanding the “whys” of everyday living is the bedrock of all social lessons a child learns from the age of 2. And the answer they expect and depend on, is always prefaced with a “because”.

As a result, the word “because” remains in the subconscious mind as a dependable, good and solid reason for just about everything. Add a “because” to any request you are making, and no matter how untenable your reason really is, the person you are talking to will be pre-disposed to accept it. Because you said “because”.

# 3: YOU

One of the most powerful hypnotic words you should always have in your marketing toolbox.

The word is used so often, and in so many contexts, that is hard to think of “you” wielding any special hypnotic power. But studies have strongly proven otherwise.

I’m sure you receive a ton of direct emails and newsletters that are topped with your own name. The reasoning is that this inclusion will make you feel singled out, appreciated and special. But usually, does not happen.

Think about the last annoying phone call you received from a telemarketer who prefaced the conversation with your full name. Did that make you want to listen to the rest of his/her spiel about why you have been chosen for some special inaugural offer on some product? Or did it just make the interaction a whole lot more fake and artificial than it already was, and at some level, creepy?

In contrast, “you” can feed egos and make people feel singled out and special without the use of a first name in scenarios where first name use is obviously an artificial, marketing ploy.





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Mastodon Media is a fully integrated advertising agency based outside Seattle, WA. With more than 30 years of experience, Mastodon is one of the leading ad agencies in the region, offering a full-service approach and customized ad solutions.